Cattle Futures: Live Cattle Up; Feeders Surge On Corn

US - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures closed higher Friday on short covering by local traders and April/June, June/August and August/October bull spreading as market participants evened up positions on the last trading day of March.
calendar icon 2 April 2007
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Providing additional lift for front-month live cattle futures were technical-related buying after April and June punched through chart resistance, cash optimism for next week, and feeder cattle's dramatic rally.

Nevertheless, far-month live cattle were pressured for most of the morning amid sentiments that feedlot placements could grow because of inexpensive feed based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's prospective plantings report.

Spot-April closed 122 points higher at 97.60 cents a pound.

Most-active June finished 92 points higher at 94.87 cents.

Prospective CME live cattle buyers were initially put off by this week's cash sales that were steady to lower compared with a week ago and pork cutouts' abysmal performance.

However, the board gathered upward momentum as CBOT corn spiraled downward and USDA's corn survey ignited feeder cattle contracts that at one point sent April feeders up the 300-point daily price limit.

After USDA's corn report was released there were reports of a few remaining cash cattle on Friday that sold at $96.50 per hundredweight on a live basis. This emboldened cattle market bulls enough to price in possible $97 cattle for next week heading into the Good Friday/Easter holidays.

Cattle market participants on Monday will evaluate possible lingering effects after Friday's corn-influenced trade. Boxed beef will continue to be a contentious issue after choice and select shed another $0.80 and $0.39 of their value midday on Friday.

And, judging by slowing declining daily cattle slaughters, a few processors may be making good on threats to cut kills due to unsatisfactory calculated profit margins.

Locals bought June and August. RJ O'Brien was among April buyers. Cadent Financial and Rosenthal were cited as June sellers. Iowa Grain sold August.

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